CYPRECO Revived the Centuries-Long Art of Weaving

Photo Credit: ETA Press

On Friday, June 3rd, CYPRECO of America, Inc., presented a new successful production dedicated to the folklore of Cyprus at the Stathakion Cultural Center in NewYork.  Under the title, “Weaving Ladies of Cyprus”, the program featured the screening of a documentary named after the event and an exhibition of traditional embroideries and handicrafts.

The audience was comprised by Greek and Greek-Cypriot Americans and Americans of all ages who were truly fascinated with the program which was part of CYPRECO’s folk arts series, “Cyprus Its History and Culture Through The Ages”.

The 50-minute original documentary by Greek-Cypriot filmmaker Paschalis Papapetrou which highlighted and revived the most important aspects of the art of weaving in Cyprus was the result of seven years of recording on the Mediterranean island.  Starting from the processing of raw materials and continuing with the actual weaving, the documentary provided an in-depth understanding how the traditional hand-woven products of Cyprus evolved.  The film also refers to the customs and traditions relating to weaving in Cyprus, while it showcases and introduces some of the most significant and last weaving ladies of Cyprus.

The audience was truly moved as they watched the last remaining weaving ladies of Cyprus talking about their craft which will be lost after they are gone.  It was even more compelling to watch the hard work that is required before weaving actually starts on the loom and how much sincere love and dedication goes into the preparation of the threats and thereafter to the actual weaving.  This art which is threatened by extinction has survived over the centuries from mother to daughter or from grandmother to granddaughter.  However, due to modernization over the years, the traditional everyday life, chores and priorities of Cypriot women have also changed.  The new generations are no longer interested in the art which requires true dedication and hard work and thus the art will be lost with the last weaving ladies of the island when they are gone.

Guests were welcomed by the President of CYPRECO and Executive Producer of the program, Ms. Elena Maroulleti who after the screening of the documentary unveiled an exhibit of traditional hand-woven handicrafts from various areas of Cyprus.  What was exceptional about the exhibition was the fact that it featured embroideries, handicrafts and other hand-woven materials which were shown in the film such as the renowned embroideries of “Phyti”, of the Karpass peninsula and materials such as the “alatzia” which were used to make the traditional dresses for women and vests for men in rural Cyprus.  The exhibition is part of CYPRECO’s private collection acquired over the years from traditional weavers on the island of Cyprus, while Ms. Maroulleti also included some exhibits which are family heirlooms.   Very moved, she explained that, after the July 20, 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, her late mother, Lucy Maroulleti, in risk of her life, returned to Famagusta few days after the city was taken over by Turkish troops with a sole mission of saving these and other precious family heirlooms.

This new folk arts program by CYPRECO was offered with free admission, as a public service to the community and it was made possible in part with the generous support of Arch Capital Services, the New York City of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Cyprus Federation of America and Astoria Federal Savings Bank, Ditmars Branch in Astoria, NY.  The event was under the auspices of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York.

Continuing its cultural mission, CYPRECO of America, Inc., has lined up a new series of cultural and folk arts programs for Cyprus and Greece.  On July 20, 2011 at 7pm at the Stathakion Cultural Center, 22-51 29th Street in Astoria, NY, on the occasion of the 37th tragic anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the organization will be presenting a special cultural program on Cyprus, entitled “July 20, 1974-We Never Forget”.  The event will feature a screening of the original mini-documentary, “Pellapais” by Elena Maroulleti, a concert with songs that lament the Turkish invasion and continued occupation of Cyprus and poetry recital by Polys Kyriacou, poet/lyricist featuring his poems on Cyprus.  It should be noted that, the village of Pellapais, under Turkish occupation since 1974, is among the most important villages in the northern-occupied part of Cyprus with a vibrant rich history and culture.  The village gained importance and fame from the renowned medieval Abbey which is built within its vicinity.  This event is offered for free as a public service to the community and it is under the auspices of the Consulate General of Cyprus in NY, the Cyprus Federation of America, the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and the Federation of Hellenic Societies of NY.

On Friday, November 4, 2011 at 8pm also at the Stathakion, CYPRECO will be presenting another unique musical performance, a concert/tribute to the legendary composers of the last century, Apostolos Kaldaras and Stavros Kouyioumtzis.  The concert will revive the most loved and everlasting songs of these great composer with a group of amazing musicians comprised by Christos Papadopoulos, bouzouki/vocals, Leda Maniatakou, vocals, Megan Gould, violin/baglama, Mathias Kunzli, percussion, directed by the renowned composer/guitarist Spiros Exaras.  Admission for this event is $25 and it is offered to benefit the public service and non-profit bilingual Greek America radio AKTINA FM-WNYE 91.5FM

To RSVP for the above programs, please call 718-545-1151 or email to [email protected],  and for more information please visit,